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TOPIC: Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder 2 years 2 weeks ago #1235

  • sarahhohman
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Billy Wilder died ten years ago this week, so it seems like a good time to discuss his best movies and his philosophy of writing. Below is a link to his Tips for Writers:

1- The audience is fickle.

2- Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go.

3- Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.

4- Know where you’re going.

5- The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

6- If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.

7- A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.

8- In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they’re seeing.

9- The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.

10- The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then -
11- that’s it. Don’t hang around.

If you look at everything wrong with movies today, this pretty much covers it. I can't tell you how many times I've been working on a script and I can't end it, and it turns out the problem was in the first act not the third act. These rules are so simple, so intuitive, but so true so and so often forgotten. The man was a genius.

My favorite Wilder movie is Some Like It Hot. It's the only movie where the "men dressing up as women" thing not only works, it's hilarious. Jack Lemmon is a big reason for that. Tony Curtis is okay in the role, but Jack steals the show. The best comedy of all time.

What about my fellow Kitten Hands? What Billy Wilder do you love the most? Why?
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